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Recipe Sat Jan 03 2009

Mystery Surprise Cake

Mystery Surprise Cake If the current economic crisis has left you feeling nostalgic for that other Great Depression, why not try making a mystery surprise cake from a vintage 1930's recipe? The surprise is the tomato soup which goes in just before baking and gives the cake that certain je ne sais quoi while keeping costs down. In all honesty, the tomato flavor is imperceptible; the generous quantities of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are what dominate, making it taste like your typical spice cake. Unfortunately, after a few days, the cake does dry out quite a bit. Luckily, the ooey gooey cream cheese frosting more than makes up for it.

Mystery Cake, Campbell's Soup
from Sylvia Lovegren's Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads
(recipe available at the book's website)

2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or mace
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup seedless raisins, coarsely chopped
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 (15-ounce) can condensed tomato soup
Philly-Vanilly Frosting (below)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together in a medium-size bowl. Toss the raisins to coat with ¼ cup of the flour mixture. Cream the shortening in a large bowl. Add the sugar gradually to the shortening, creaming until light. Beat in the eggs until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour mixture alternately with the soup to the egg mixture. Stir until smooth. Fold in the raisins. Pour into two greased and floured 8-inch layer pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Frost with Philly-Vanilly Frosting.

Philly-Vanilly Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package Philadelphia brand (of course) cream cheese
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cheese until soft in a large bowl. Work in the sugar, then beat in the melted butter and vanilla. Continue beating until very light.


R / January 4, 2009 12:50 PM

This sounds GREAT. I plan to make it soon. I used to have a tomato soup obsession that changed from canned condensed to Trader Joe's brand (a million times better) so I have leftover cans in my pantry. Thanks for the recipe.

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